16 Mar 2015

Maori targeted as fire volunteers

10:00 am on 16 March 2015

The fire service says it is desperately trying to engage with the Maori community to boost volunteer numbers.

It says a lack of population in rural areas combined with heavier training requirements is taking its toll on volunteer membership.

Rural fire service appliance in Porirua.

A rural fire service appliance. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Fire service national Maori advisor Piki Thomas said volunteerism was declining globally.

He said Maori were crucial to manning fire services in rural communities.

Mr Thomas said there was a spirit of volunteering within Maoridom, such as at Marae, which the fire service wanted to tap into to boost numbers.

He said engaging with local schools and elders could make the fire service a more attractive place for Maori.